Friday, May 24, 2013

Oklahoma Tornado: Divine Judgment?

Evangelical speaker and author John Piper is being criticized for the Bible verses he Tweeted right after tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma to his nearly half-of-a-million followers. Both verses come from Job--

Job 1:9- “Your sons and daughters were eating and a great wind struck the house, and it fell upon them, and they are dead.”

Job 1:20- “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.”

The tweets didn’t mention the deadly tornadoes, but critics say they were inappropriate. Evangelical writer Rachel Held Evans had strong words for what she called Piper's “abusive theology of ‘deserved’ tragedy." She backed off in a later Tweet: “Piper’s tweet was vague enough that I don’t know that he was necessarily saying this point this time. Maybe it wasn’t the best time to call him out.” But Piper tied Job and Oklahoma together when he Tweeted, “My hope and prayer for Oklahoma is that the raw realism of Job’s losses will point us all to his God ‘compassionate and merciful.’” He retired recently from Minneapolis' Bethlehem Baptist Church.  Author Philip Yancey warned Piper to avoid becoming like one of Job’s friends, trying to explain why God allows tragedy. “God endorses the confusion and even outrage that we feel when mysterious things happen... When suffering happens, it forces us to confront life in a different way than we normally do.”

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